Running a business or a coaching practice can be challenging on even the best of days.

There are 5 things that I believe are essential if you want to have a successful business or coaching practice and that will set the stage for a productive day no matter what else happens.

1. Get up early every day.
There is nothing more golden than the earliest morning hours spent just with yourself. What is early? Whatever time is early enough where you beat everyone else out of bed and can have 15-minutes, a half-hour, an hour, or two, before you officially have to start your day.

My day starts at 4:30 am every day, even Saturday and Sunday. That gives me about three hours of “me” time before I have to start doing anything else that involves another human being. Generally I try to be in my office and at my desk ready for work by 8:00 am.

You can decide what times work best for you. Just give yourself that few extra minutes in the mornings no matter how much time you can “spare.”

2. Engage in some form of a spiritual practice.
One of the advantages of having alone time early in the morning is so that you can spend at least a few minutes in some sort of spiritual communion.

Many folks like to meditate, others use this time to pray, some folks (like me) just like to sit in quiet contemplation. I also spend a few minutes reading something uplifting from the spiritual teachers I follow. I particularly like the daily guides in Science of Mind magazine and the lessons found in Daily Word magazine, a Unity publication.

Simon T. Bailey, one of my mentors, suggests spending 15 minutes of every day divided into three 5-minute steps. First five minutes, spend in meditation or quiet contemplation, second five minutes, read or listen to something uplifting, and in the last five minutes, get up and move your body in some way. For example, stretch, walk in place, swim, swing your arms, dance. Something that will get your blood pumping and the air circulating.

3. Read.
If your days are like mine, finding time to read anything can be a challenge unless you make it a priority. That’s why getting up early and spending some time in a good book will contribute greatly to your success.

Successful business owners almost always cite reading as one essential key to their success. If you read just a little bit every day, you can likely read about one book every week. Just think about how much new information you’ll have absorbed and learned in a year’s time.

I find that I get at least one actionable idea from every book I read. That’s at least 52 ideas every year.

4. Write something every day.
As a business owner today you likely are finding that you do an inordinate amount of writing. It’s the primary method of communicating these days.

Get yourself in to the habit of writing something for at least 15 minutes each day. It doesn’t matter what you write, nor whether you think it’s good enough to publish. You never have to publish it just because you wrote it.

If you don’t know what to write, just write “I don’t know what to write” over and over. What usually gets in the way of our writing is that we are always self-judging. Stop judging and just write.

A great way to get in the writing habit is to follow the advice of Julia Cameron and do what she calls “morning pages.” You commit to write three pages every day on anything that comes to mind whether it makes any sense or not.

And write by hand, not on your computer. There’s something really special about the connection between your brain and your hand when you write using a pencil or a pen. Daily journaling is a good writing activity.

The key here is to develop the habit of writing something every day. Sooner, rather than later, writing will come easier. And that’s the point.

5. Plan every day the day before.
In my phone, I have an alarm set to remind me every day at 5:00 pm to stop what I’m doing, clear my desk, and make a plan for tomorrow. It’s important to clear your desk first so that all that stuff isn’t calling out to you.

Choose the top 3 things you want to accomplish tomorrow no matter what and designate those as your priorities. Then add anything else you think you’ll have time for.

Just be careful that you don’t make the mistake that most of us make and try to schedule too much. Better to schedule just a few things so you can complete your list every day and have those as a win.

If you get everything you’ve planned done early and still have some time, then start on tomorrow’s work. Or better yet, shut your office door behind you and go do something fun!

By planning the day before, your brain isn’t being pulled in a million different directions and you can think more clearly about what you have to do. Your plan may change tomorrow, but if you can stick to it 80% of the time you’ll be far ahead of the game.

Only until recently I was a paper and pencil kind of planner. These days I’m using a wonderful little program called ToDoist to keep myself on track. Since I started using ToDoist, my daily productivity has soared.

Not only am I getting the things done I say I’m going to do, but ToDoist also makes it so easy for me to keep track of projects and all the things I have to do — and want to do — both for my own business and projects for my clients. Nothing slips through the cracks anymore.

Well, those are my top 5 daily rituals for having a successful business.

But in addition, I’d like to share a sixth thing that I think is essential for business success. And that is…

6. Take care of yourself.
The old adage, “when you’ve got your health you’ve got everything” is really true.

Recently I undertook a pretty strict health regimen and what a big difference that has made. Not just in my overall health but in my overall well-being. I feel really great and because I feel so great I’ve found it very easy to stick with the commitments I’ve made toward my health improvement.

And this has spilled over in to the rest of my life. I’ve got a renewed sense of purpose, more vigor, more energy, and more enthusiasm for my business and my work. Life is fun again!

So take care of your health and that will likely take care of everything else.

Do you have daily rituals that you practice that you’ve found to be helpful in keeping you not just productive, but happy as well? Share those or your thoughts in the comments below.

Namasté.